Former CPAC speaker pours cold water on Matt Schlapp's 'irrelevant' 2023 edition
Matt Schlapp / Gage Skidmore

A combination of small crowds, key Republicans staying away and a sexual scandal creating a cloud over the entire production, led a former CPAC speaker to declare the high-profile conference where he was once welcomed has become "irrelevant" to the conservative movement.

During an appearance on MSNBC's "The Katie Phang Show," former Rep. Carlos Curbelo (R-FL) stated he was once an honored guest and speaker at the annual conservative get-together but it has now seemingly fallen on hard times.

With questions being raised about sexual assault allegations levied by a male Hershel Walker staffer lodged against CPAC founder Matt Schlapp, key Republicans ranging from House Speaker Kevin McCarthy (R-CA) and possible 2024 GOP presidential nominee Ron DeSantis (R-FL) are not in attendance.

Those factors have led to speakers who did show up in 2023 giving talks to rooms that are less than half-full.

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Speaking with host Phang, the Florida Republican questioned whether the annual conference will ever regain its former glory.

"Is CPAC even relevant anymore? It seems to me to be just a MAGA echo chamber, with really bad baked goods," host Phang prompted.

"Katie, I was at CPAC in 2014, and I actually spoke there, and it was still relevant but already kind of declining," Curbelo explained. "Today it is the principal place of worship for the cult of Trump and it is really becoming irrelevant because, as you said, there isn't a market for these ideas in general elections."

"Republican primaries are different," he elaborated. "We'll see how that all plays out the next couple of years, but all these candidates who go to CPAC and spew all this venom, they are getting punished in general elections."

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